COVID-19: Vulnerable older Australians cannot wait over 12 months for home care packages

Monday, March 30, 2020

‘Older people waiting for home care packages need urgent support now to ensure they can stay living safely at home and receive the care they need’, says Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.

‘This need is urgent as the community faces unprecedented health risks—and family and other support may not be readily available.’

Last week the Department of Health released its regular quarterly report on Home Care Packages for the first quarter of 2019–20.

‘It shows that while the government is releasing more and more packages, and I commend them for doing so, as a whole it’s not enough’, Ms Verhoeven said.

‘Around 112,000 people are either waiting for a package or have been offered a package at a lower level than they have already qualified for.

‘And the waiting time to get on a package at all levels other than the basic Level 1 is listed in the report as “12+ months”.

‘The report says that 97.8% of all people waiting for a home care package at their approved level at 30 September 2019 “had been provided with the opportunity to connect to some form of Commonwealth subsidised home care support”.

‘It’s not good enough—people should have the care they need.

‘There are too many people on the waiting lists—and they have been waiting too long.

‘Right now it’s obviously a busy time for all involved in health and healthcare.

‘Nevertheless, it’s essential that government gets needed nursing and community care services now to older Australians who will be at increased COVID-19 risk without appropriate support.’


More information on AHHA is available at

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, Primary Health Networks, and community and primary healthcare services.


Media enquiries: Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive, AHHA, 0403 282 501